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The Warsaw Voice » Society » August 2, 2010
Battle of Warsaw 1920
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Bank Zachodni WBK Sponsors Major Motion Picture
August 2, 2010   
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Shooting for Battle of Warsaw 1920 (Bitwa Warszawska 1920), a new movie by director Jerzy Hoffman, started in late June in Modlin near Warsaw.

Rather than a lecture in history, the film—set during the Polish-Soviet war that broke out shortly after World War I— will be an epic story of two people. Ola is a vaudeville actress, while her husband Jan is a cavalryman and a poet. Their lives become entangled in the bloody events of 1920. Through the eyes of Ola, played by Natasza Urbańska, viewers will see the everyday lives of Warsaw residents in the early 20th century, while following Jan (Borys Szyc), they will see the war on different fronts.

The cast includes some of the finest Polish actors, among them Daniel Olbrychski as Marshal Józef Piłsudski, Bogusław Linda, Jerzy Bończak, Adam Ferency, Wiktor Zborowski, Ewa Wi¶niewska, Stanisława Celińska and Wojciech Pszoniak. The film will feature spectacular battle scenes with over 3,500 extras.

Battle of Warsaw 1920 will be the first Polish movie shot in 3D. According to Hoffman, the new technology guarantees better box office performance and higher interest among foreign TV companies. The director of photography on Battle of Warsaw 1920 is Sławomir Idziak, nominated for an Academy Award for Black Hawk Down. The score will be written by Krzesimir Dębski and the sets have been designed by Andrzej Haliński.

Filming is scheduled on Sept. 30. Over 67 days, the film will be shot on locations in Modlin, Warsaw, Piotrków Trybunalski, and Komarów near Zamo¶ć as well as a rural life museum in Lublin, the Nowa Sucha open-air museum near Węgrów, and a military exercise site near Warsaw. The movie is slated for release in September next year.

Battle of Warsaw 1920 is sponsored by Bank Zachodni WBK. By taking part in the project, Bank Zachodni WBK wants to help tell the previously untold stories of ordinary people during the war of 1920. The bank’s involvement in the production testifies to its corporate social responsibility policy and a desire to support cultural initiatives for present-day viewers and future generations.

Bank Zachodni WBK also takes part in numerous projects that aim to strengthen the Polish national identity and promote the country’s historic and artistic legacy. The bank works with the Museum of the History of Poland and the Warsaw Uprising Museum. It supports music concerts, various municipal events and other projects that educate the public about important events in Poland’s history. Bank Zachodni WBK also supports historical and scientific projects that benefit the public.

Test of National Unity

The 1920 Battle of Warsaw is the only victorious battle since the 17th century to have been fought entirely by Polish forces and which was decisive in winning a war. For the 19 years that followed, the battle secured Poland’s newly regained independence and stopped the progression of the Red Army towards Europe, forcing Lenin and Trotsky to abandon plans of igniting a global revolution. However, opponents of Marshal Józef Piłsudski, Poland’s chief of state and senior military commander, did their best abroad to strip him of the credit for victory. As a result, outside of Poland, the 1920 Battle of Warsaw to this day remains an obscure episode of history, except to a small group of historians.

The phrase “Miracle on the Vistula River” was coined to describe the outcome of the battle, suggesting that divine intervention, rather than Piłsudski, was responsible for the result. The phrase has become embedded in the Polish national consciousness.

In the communist era, Polish historians tried to gloss over the 1920 war or tried to portray it as part of a Polish imperialist campaign to take Kiev. Today, those who took part in or witnessed the events of 1920 are long dead. Despite efforts by historians and journalists, young Poles are not generally aware of the full significance of the battle.

The march on Kiev and the Battle of Warsaw showed clearly that when in danger, the Polish nation was able to stand united and overcome differences resulting from 123 years of partitions, political divisions and the powerful influence of left-wingers on workers and peasants. Less than two years after regaining independence in 1918, the people of Poland rejected another attempt by foreigners to seal their fate. Peasants, summoned by Wincenty Witos of the Polish People’s Party, volunteered to fight en masse, as did young people and the patriotic intelligentsia. Communists were in a minority among Polish workers. This was the biggest mistake by Bolshevik commanders: it was the consolidation of the Polish nation that was the key to Poland’s victory in the Battle of Warsaw.

Director Jerzy Hoffman
Producer Jerzy R. Michaluk
Produced by Zodiak Jerzy Hoffman Film Production
Director of Photography Sławomir Idziak
Composer Krzesimir Dębski
Distribution in Poland Sławomir Salamon Forum Film Poland
Sponsor Bank Zachodni WBK
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